Touring Jeddah’s Best Museums

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From far afield, Jeddah may appear as any other coastal metropolis. But scratch the surface and you’ll unearth thousands of years of history. The easiest way to get a grasp around the city’s rich history is to visit the precious selection of museums that the city has to offer:


Nassif House Museum

Built in 1881 for then-governor of Jeddah, Sheikh Omar Effendi Nassif, the Nassif House Museum is the site of various historical activities, even serving as the temporary royal residence of King Abdulaziz, the founder of the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in 1925. Located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Al Balad, the mansion went from exemplifying Jeddah’s elite to becoming a cultural center for all. 

With lectures, exhibits, and a museum exploring its own history, the 106 rooms of Bayt Nassif (or Nassif House as it is also known) allow you to walk through the ornamented and complex past of the district. Despite significant restorative renovations, the historical architecture has remained intact, and its museum showcases a collection of vintage photographs.

Matbouli House Museum

Full of oddities, the Historic District of Jeddah is home to several old houses. As one of Al Balad’s more curious spaces, the 400-year-old Al Matbouli House allows you to experience local life at the turn of the century. From how the city’s residents dined to the various traditions of hospitality, the place offers a great insight into the values and customs of those who once dwelled in this historic neighborhood.

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Museum of Abdul Raoof Hasan Khalil

Tucked away in a plush neighborhood that houses modern concrete buildings, the Abdul Raoof Hasan Khalil Museum stands out like a sore thumb, with its exquisite rawasheen (latticed windows), arched galleries, and ornate doors. On the inside, expect Abbasid era coins, rare manuscripts of the Quran, and an assortment of objets d’art.

Al Tayebat City Museum

The museum spans several buildings, all constructed using elements of traditional Hejazi architecture. Today, Al Tayebat City Museum is by far one of the most popular museums in the city, housing a prized collection of pre-Islamic-era pieces. There’s also a charming little mosque within the premises, which is a work of art in and of itself. If you fall in love with antiquities after your visit, then you can buy some at one of the many antique shops that line the façade of the museum.

Our Days of Bliss Magad

Situated just a few meters opposite of the far popular Bait Al Naseef, the museum is a window into life in Jeddah during the mid-20th century. This museum beautifully tells the story of that era using quotidian items such as canned food, glass bottles of soft drinks, gramophones, and some of the earliest minted Saudi coins.

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